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Museum of Appalachia: Christmas in Old Appalachia

quilting in old appalachia
Quilting in Mark Twain Family Cabin during Christmas in Old Appalachia. Image courtesy of Museum of Appalachia.


CLINTON, TN - Popcorn balls and paper chains, fruits and nuts in their stockings, carols by the fire, a cedar tree cut in the nearby woods — that’s the Christmas most rural Appalachian children knew — all happening at the Museum of Appalachia from December 7 through December 24.

It's the Christmas recreated each year throughout the Museum village at its special Christmas in Old Appalachia. The museum recreates a meaningful holiday of simpler pleasures and homier joys. Traditional trees and homemade decorations, typical of austere pioneer days, transform the Museum’s authentic log buildings; and in the one-room, dirt-floored Dan'l Boone cabin, strings of popcorn and cotton bolls circle a dormant tree. Paper chains and other ornaments trim the tree in the Little Tater Valley Schoolhouse.

Sweet gum and sycamore balls are strung throughout the Mark Twain Family Cabin, and a traditional silver star tops a native red cedar Christmas tree in the turn-of-the-century Peters Homestead House. Apples, nuts, homemade toys, and oranges fill stockings hung in the cabins.

Sing Christmas carols along with musicians in the Homestead House, where they'll be singing holiday and traditional songs every day during December. Sit and visit with the kids over some hot chocolate and Christmas cookies from the Museum Restaurant.

Pick up some stocking stuffers in the Museum Gift and Antique Shop, which features everything from hand-crafted ornaments, locally made muscadine and moonshine jellies, and beautiful pottery, along with baskets, quilts, and plenty of Appalachian specialties. Or just come relax in a rocking chair by the cozy, crackling fire in the big stone fireplace.

Museum of Appalachia is located at 2819 Andersonville Hwy., Clinton, TN 37716 (16 miles north of Knoxville at I-75, exit 122, then one mile east). For more information, please visit

Published December 8, 2013

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